Mary Winkler sentencing reset for June 8

SELMER, Tenn. – A new date has been set to sentence Mary Carol Winkler after her April 19 conviction for voluntary manslaughter.

She originally was to be sentenced today, but the date was changed to June 8 because of a scheduling conflict, defense attorney Steve Farese said Thursday.

Winkler was convicted in the first-degree murder of her husband, Church of Christ preacher Matthew Winkler. She could be sentenced to two to six years in prison, but Farese said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has declared her eligible for an alternative sentencing program.

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Under alternative sentencing guidelines, Circuit Judge Weber McCraw could impose a sentence that would keep Mary Winkler from spending any more time in jail.

Then, if she successfully completes terms of the program, she would be eligible to have the conviction removed from her record.

While her fate hangs in the balance, she also is fighting to regain custody of her daughters – Patricia, 9, Allie, 8, and Breanna, 2.

Dan and Diane Winkler, the parents of Matthew Winkler, have had custody of the girls since March 23, 2006. Immediately after the trial they filed a petition in Carroll County, Tenn., Chancery Court to have Mary Winkler’s parental rights terminated and to adopt the children.

Phone calls to Mary Winkler’s civil attorney- Kay Farese Turner of Memphis – and the Winklers’ attorney – James Adams Jr. of Corinth – for information on the status of the custody and adoption issues were not returned Thursday.

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